Monthly Archives: April 2012

I Already Found the Car I Want!

Helping a lead navigate a private party quest… 

You have a sub prime lead in your hand, but the customer has made it perfectly clear that they do not want to purchase a vehicle from a dealership. They have in fact found a used BMW and ONLY want to get financing for that car.  This is a young person, getting their first car, and is a little over ambitious. . The lead makes less than $2,000 a month, and the BMW, even though it’s used, is about $40,000. It would be close to a miracle if someone with a 500 credit score and such a low income level was able to get direct financing from a bank to purchase this vehicle. It would be amazing if a dealership could even finance a deal like that. Now, rather than badger the customer by insulting their intelligence, try and be helpful and supportive. Sure, they may be a little rude to you, but try and grit your teeth and smile. Remember, this person isn’t going to be able to get a loan for that car and once they find that out, they’ll start to explore other options. Let other people give them the attitude so when they look back, they remember you being non judgmental and helpful.

Not all dealers will allow you to do this, but an excellent way to get some quick sales to sub prime buyers that have found a car is to have the vehicle purchased by the dealership then financed through one of their banks. Offer this to the customer, tell them that you may be able to help them get the car that they want, but that the dealership would have to inspect the vehicle first to be sure that they will not be liable for any massive problems (which can help sway the customer towards a car already at your dealership), and verify that they will absolutely able to finance the customer before purchasing the vehicle.

Let’s go back to our auto lead that makes $1,800.00 a month. After you’ve established that you may be able to help them get financing, help them over the phone. Try not to take a message, or tell them that you’ll, “Look into it,” and call them back. Give them one on one, real time service. Punch in a few numbers, say that you haven’t even run the customers credit yet, and explain that if they took out a 5 year loan for that BMW they had their heart set on, at an interest rate for someone will good credit, let’s say 10%, that the monthly payment would be almost $900 a month. Then mention that they still have insurance, full coverage since it’s being financed, and that with their age and the high price of the car, that the insurance payments could be almost the cost of the monthly payment. Add that together, that’s just about every cent of their income. That doesn’t leave any spare change for things like gas or general maintenance. Explain this in a subtle way and while you’ve been crunching those numbers have a separate column ready so you can spout off some quick facts about what you CAN do for them.

“You know, I can get you into something similar here for about $200-300 a month. I mean it’s not going to be that BMW, but we have a decent section of some good used two door sports cars. I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to help you today, but if you decide that you want to get something later down the road I’ll be here and I already see that we can get you financed for something around $10,000.” Now, it might seem bad to say that you are not going to be able to get their dream car, but if you say it in the right tone, one that relays, “Wow, that’s an amazing car, YOU have absolutely fantastic taste,” and sympathize with them, there will be a sense of camaraderie between the two of you. At the end of the call,when you’ve said that you can help them, don’t push for a sale. If they ask you any questions about what you have on your lot, of course answer those, but do not insist that they come in to see what you have to offer. This will break any trust that you have built up so far. Make sure they have your number, wish them luck, and end the call. “Do you have any more questions? ..Ok then, you have my number, and it was nice talking to you, if you change your mind just give me a call. Thanks again, goodbye.”

You may be upset at this point, thinking, “But you ALWAYS want to set an appointment on the first call! Don’t tell them anything until they come into your office! You’ll never hear from that customer again!” With some customers that is the truth, but not for all. You have to know when to use the take-away technique. A scenario like this is perfect for it. You want them to go to their local bank, and you want them to call another dealership. Why? This customer has such outlandish hopes that a salesman somewhere else is going to rip them apart. Think of the condescending attitude and general rudeness. Then when the customer realizes that they did have their heights set a little too high, they’re not going to want to go back to those rude dealerships, they’re going to want to go to you. You are probably going to be the only one who didn’t laugh, treated them with respect, and already told them what you can do for them.

This helps get your sales up in the long run. You might not hear from that customer for another month or two, but they’ll remember you. Not all sub prime leads are going to be a sure thing. Remember that a successful sub prime department isn’t about getting a sale ASAP or not at all, it’s about building customers.


Calling Your Leads – What Do You Want?

What a lead wants… what a lead gets… 

Congratulations, you’ve initialized the conversation by asking the customer who you are, and letting them know you are calling about their auto loan application, welcome to part two in communication! If you skipped the first step, please see https://dealerautoleads.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/calling-your-leads-the-introduction/ and soak up some handy tips.

Now, it’s your turn to ask the customer a few questions without bombarding them. I’ve found that initially asking, “How much are you looking to finance?” generally gets me the response, “How much you gonna give me?” and puts the customer in a hostile stance. Similarly, asking, “Do you have a specific type of car in mind and do you know how much you are looking to finance?” makes the customer think more about their answer, and come up with a more sincere response. It’s a simple two part question that helps you feel out the customer and what they are really looking for.

Let’s say that the customer tells you that they want around $5,000 for a car they saw parked on the lawn of a house down the street with a for sale sign in the window. I’ve seen many salesman abort the call at this moment and hang up. Seriously, that’s entirely unprofessional. Just because already knows the exact car that they want doesn’t mean you can’t sell them a car. There are many acceptable ways to turn this into a sale. Buying from a dealership gives the customer a security blanket, use that and your car knowledge to help open up their options. If the customer says that they saw a Chrysler Sebring that they wanted, ask some questions about it, is it a two door, four door, convertible? Then you could try asking if they are interested in it because of the style or the price. Ask, “A Sebring, nice, are you looking at that one because it’s a four-door or because of the price?” What was the answer, a little of both? Well, what if you could offer them a newer model of the same or similar car for roughly the same price from a dealership AND get them financing? It really helps to know your inventory or be able to search it while you are on the phone with the customer.

Do you see what we did there? We asked some questions without making it sound like they have no choice but to purchase a car from your dealership. They do have a choice, and backing a customer into a corner with condescending phrases or tones will get you nowhere. By asking some polite get-to-know-you questions you now know what the customer is looking for and their budget.


Calling Your Leads – The Introduction

Take it nice and slow… 

Customers who applied for an auto loan online, and are waiting for that call, with what they assume will be bad news, can be hard to communicate with in the first few minutes. The leads you are calling should always be real time, and you should always call them as soon as you get the lead, that way you can get to that customer before they have a chance to apply on any other site and another dealer swoops in. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to get a conversation going.

So you have the lead, fresh from your email, fax, or CRM, you pick up the phone and dial. Someone answers! It’s very important to let the customer know within the first 10 seconds that you are responding to their request, you’re not just a dealership calling randomly. Let the them know that you are calling about the auto loan application the customer filled out online. Subprime customers probably have creditors calling, you don’t want to mistaken for a creditor or an unsolicited call.  I’ve found that throwing it all out there gets my foot in the door and doesn’t get be piled in with the other callers that I don’t want to be associated with. My best opening line, “Hi, this is Allen, I’m calling for John Doe about the auto loan application he just filled out.” I try to avoid mentioning the franchise of the dealership right off the bat. Of course, I’ll tell them where I am calling from, but I won’t list off the franchise names. It sounds cheesy and it can be a deterrent. If someone is looking for a specific make and model such as a Chevy Tahoe, it really puts a kink in the chain if you say you’re calling from a Kia dealership. It’s also helpful to introduce your dealership in a way that lets the customer know that you don’t just sell new cars. Most customers who have bad credit and limited income hear a franchise dealership name and see high priced new cars, not realizing right away that dealerships have used vehicles from auctions and trade ins that can easily fit their needs and budget.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Did I really just read about how to say hello to a customer?” The answer is, yes you did. How to say hello and introduce yourself to leads can greatly increase your sales. It’s about understanding your customer, and putting yourself in their shoes.


Turning Auto Leads into Advertising

Be more helpful than your competitors…

If you have worked in sales for the auto industry, chances are you have worked with, or at the very least, know about leads. With subprime, it can be a hit or miss each time you call. While the customer is in the market for a vehicle, it can be tricky trying to get them into the dealership. Chances are the customer has already been declined by walking into a dealership, which may have hurt their pride. When you call a auto lead, you want to try to uncover the issues that they have had, and assure them that you can assist them in getting a car. Just because they have limited credit options available doesn’t mean that they will put up with a sour attitude. On the same note, just because these customers may require more work to get approved and into a car, doesn’t make it ‘not worth it’ to try for the sale. Even if you can’t finance the customer right away, be polite, be helpful and when the customer does eventually come up with a down payment, or find a cosigner, they will remember the way you treated them and how you helped them. If you do everything right the best advertising of all: word of mouth, will be your reward. Whether you sell a car or not. Word of mouth is hands down the best form of advertising, and it can not be bought, it has to be earned through quality service with your existing customers. A great reputation from people in your neighborhood will not only help your walk ins, it will help all of your advertising through the respected branding that comes with good word of mouth.

It’s common for as auto dealer to spend tens of thousands of dollars each month to get people into their showrooms, without knowing if the audience they are reaching is even interested in purchasing a vehicle. The best lead providers generate auto finance leads from their websites. This way a dealership can be sure that they are getting customers who are looking to purchase a vehicle right now. Websites should focus on a number of keywords, such as ‘car credit’ and other keywords that customers look for when they are trying to obtain auto financing. Most online applicants are self described subprime customers, meaning that they believe they have poor credit and don’t want to go from dealership to dealership just to be rejected. The goal of an auto lead provider like subprimeautoleads.com, part of Cyberlead, Inc, is to connect customers from their highly ranked auto loan websites to a dealership that has the ability to help get a customer who applied on one of their sites financed and into a car.